John Brown: Cultural Icon in American Mythos

Zoe Trodd, a British scholar who teaches at Harvard, cited me in a book she co-edited, titled Meteor of War: The John Brown Story (Brandywine, 2004).*

Zoe and I share a common interest in John Brown: I wrote my doctoral dissertation, “John Brown: Cultural Icon in American Mythos,” at the University of Buffalo under the direction of Leslie Fiedler, renowned literary and cultural critic and author of the widely acclaimed Love and Death in the American Novel (Stein & Day, 1960).

View my dissertation’s …

Brown is unquestionably one of America’s most controversial historical figures, one who has evoked an extraordinarily wide range of praise and blame, and condemnation and deification. This anthology examines how a supposed madman and brutal terrorist could also be hailed as a saint or as an anti-racist Jesus who turned the gallows into a cross. Brown remains a mythic figure demonstrating both the inherent violence and the redemptive possibilities of American society.

Professor Trodd’s special interests include protest literature, the historical novel, literature and photography, ethnic autobiography, African American literature, Native American literature, journalism, Civil War culture, and war in literature.

*Trodd subsequently published American Protest Literature (Harvard Press, 2005).